Across Guatemala City, hundreds of Pentecostal drug rehabilitation centers warehouse users (often against their will) in the name of salvation. This talk details how pastors deploy digital media to assess a user's relative fitness for a Christian life. These pastors insist that photographs and videos allow them to discern users, allowing the faithful to read users' bodies for signs of the soul. Contributing to the criminalization and mass incarceration of drug users, this optics organizes the outer edges of today's War on Drugs.
Kevin Lewis O'Nelll is Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. His work examines the moral dimensions of contemporary political practice through deep ethno-graphic engagement with religious institutions. His first book, City of God (University of California Press 2010), details Nea-Pentecostalism's relationship to democratization
at the level of citizenship in postwar Guatemala. His second book, Secure the Soul (University of California Press 2015), tracks Christian piety's entanglement with Central American security.
October 24th, 2016